July 28, 2017

Joseph Vaguizu - An Infant Slave in Puerto Rico

I've edited this post with the following...

I want to thank the source of this record,  an individual who is collecting records for Toa Alta. I wanted his okay before putting his name out there. I cannot thank Angel  Perez-Galarza enough for providing me with numerous images on those that were enslaved. This record is one of many he sent my way.

I have posted about this record on Facebook but decided to post it here. Here is a record of a woman who was enslaved.  It clearly states that she is a black slave. Her name is Martina Vaguizu. This is a name that I have never come across in going through church records for Puerto Rico. I also did a search to see if I could find this last name today and could not find it. I found the last name on one record in Argentina.  This leads me to believe that Martina was sold again and sent to live in Puerto Rico as her slave captors did not share her last name. However, that is not why this record has caught my attention. I have seen many Africans and blacks whether enslaved or freed being baptized.

The record is not even about Martina per say, but about her son Joseph de la Mercedes Vaguizu.  Joseph is being baptized in the church in Toa Alta, Puerto Rico on the 17th of October, 1824.  Joseph de la Mercedes was born on the 24th of September, 1824.  This makes Joseph only 23 days old.  This is normal for any baby born during this era to be baptized under 30 days of age. However, what I do not consider normal is that this infant is a slave.

Here is where things go really wrong for me as I never seen any church records documenting the following. Apparently the slave holder decides to advise the priest that the child is being gifted to his daughter to be her slave. So yes, the child is being taken away from his mother to be raise as a slave in another home to serve a new slave owner, the man’s daughter.

What I also suspect is that the man is the child’s father. The reason for this suspicion is that the child is listed in the church record as a “mulato slave”.  This means that although the mother is being recognize as being black, not mulato, the child is being identified as such. If the slave holder is indeed the father of Joseph, it can be that his wife did not want the child in the home. Anything is possible.

I have attached the image below. I hope that he survived and that his legacy continued until today.  Hoping that whomever descends from him and his mother will come across this record.

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